Court orders are meant to be obeyed. Judges take it very seriously when parties defy their orders. After all, the parties could not get along well enough to decide together, they went to mediation and were still unable to reach a solution, so they came to court and left it to the judge. Many judges take it a bit personally, while others simply see it as a matter of respect to the court and take offense on behalf of the court, so to speak. Either way, a party who has defied a judge’s order is in a very bad position to say the least.
How Colorado Courts Enforce Divorce Decrees
There are two basic mechanisms provided by the court to enforce it orders. The first is A Motion to Enforce. This is a pleading filed with the court detailing what provision of the order the other party has refused to obey. This can be failure to make payments or transfer property or it may be failure to make children available to the other parent or failure to comply with some other order or provision. If the judge finds that the other party has willfully disobeyed the order the motion will be granted. A motion to enforce usually contains a request to the court that the offending party be forced to pay the attorney fees and costs incurred by the party seeking to enforce. When the judge grants the motion to enforce the request for attorney fees is usually granted as well. The offending party then is on notice that he has violated the order and must comply and in addition he has to pay the attorney fees for the enforcement of the court’s orders.
The second procedure by which a party brings a complaint to the court that the other party has not complied with the court’s order is call a contempt proceeding. There are generally two types of contempt available under Colorado law.
The first is direct contempt. This is when a party, witness, attorney, or other person over which the court has authority refuses to comply with an order of the court right there in court and in the presence of the judge. This is very uncommon and the attorneys at Gasper Law Group rarely handle this type of contempt.
The second and much more common kind of contempt is indirect contempt. This is when a person does not abide by an order of the court out in the world outside the courtroom.
Unfortunately, this type of contempt is very common after divorce cases have been to hearing and the court has issued its order. Typical violations are failure to pay payments or transfer property or failure to comply with provisions regarding children such as child custody or child support.
Contempt of Court proceedings are governed by Civil Procedure Rule 107. Contempts can be remedial or punitive. Remedial contempt asks the court for a remedy to cure the contempt. A common example of this would be if a party failed to make mortgage payments as ordered, the other party may ask that the court order the house be sold so that the initiating party’s credit will not be destroyed by the failure of the other party to make the payments as ordered. Punitive contempt asks the court to punish the offending party. The court has the authority to issue fines and even order jail time in extreme cases where a party has ignored or refused to obey an order of the court.
Contact Colorado Springs Divorce Lawyers
If you have questions about divorce contempt, contact the Gasper Law Group and one of our experienced family law attorneys will be glad to discuss the particulars of your case and advise you as to your options under Colorado law.